Christmas Presents that Encourage Bible-engagement
Christmas is approaching and soon you’ll be shopping for gifts for friends and family, your kids, and maybe even yourself. I am sure you already have great gift ideas in mind but let me throw in a couple more suggestions, specifically for Christmas presents that encourage interaction with the Bible.
Of course there are many Bible study guides, Bibles, and Children’s Bibles out there. I encourage you to browse those links if that sounds like a good starting point for the people on your Christmas list.
In addition, here are a few of my favorites…
The creators of Veggie Tales have outdone themselves. From DVDs to curriculum, you’ll find lots of resources to teach your kids about the Bible. Most of these materials are geared towards elementary-aged children.
Check out the full “What’s in the Bible?” DVD series that teaches your kids how the Bible came to be and what it’s about from beginning to end. Yes, that means they will get an overview of the Bible’s storyline. You know how much I talk about that!
These albums are straight-up Scripture put to music. They are well done. What do I mean by that? My kids love them, yes, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t always mean much to parents. In this case, I actually enjoy listening to these songs with my kids. Of course, the best benefit is that as you listen, you memorize Scripture without even trying.
Each album has a mixture of slow and upbeat songs, usually sung by one or two adults and often accompanied by children. I believe, they are all the NIV version. I personally did not have many, if any, of these verses memorized when we got the CDs but can now finish the verses - or even passages - in my head as soon as I hear the first few words.
My kids are 3 and 5 years old, but we have had these CDs for about three years. We bought the full bundle - which back then had 7 instead of 10 CDs. We have a lot of songs and haven’t gotten sick of them yet. That says something!
I am amazed at how much information and depth can fit into such few words! Each of the books has a few rhyming lines on each page, usually starting out with questions kids may ask about a subject and then answering them - and well! As a bonus, the gospel is always tied into the answer.
Here is a little secret: These books make me cry every time I read them to my kids. The truth they tell about God’s love for us is so beautiful, I have to work to keep it together enough to read with a clear voice. My favorite - no surprise here - is “What is the Bible?”, closely followed by “What is God like?” and “Who is Jesus?”
I received my first of these books when my oldest was still in the womb, so I have been reading them to my kids basically since birth. It looks like the originals are out of print by now but you can still find some of them new on amazon, others used or even for kindle (linked above).
It’s a shameless plug, I know. I really do want you and your friends to grow in your Scripture confidence. So what makes this Bible study series unique? You will learn how to study the Bible AND get an overview of the Old Testament storyline. Every week, you learn a new Bible study method and then get to practice it on hand-picked passages that string together to give you an overview of the Old Testament. Eighteen weeks of digging deep into Scripture will lead you to see the forest through the trees and able to study any Bible narrative passage you care to tackle next.
That’s right! I teach you how to study the Bible to the point that you will be able to continue on your own, without needing a study guide. The series is set up to be done in casual community. What do I mean by that? Pick a friend or two and go through the guide together. Most days have a study group question to discuss with one another via text message or a private Facebook group. You can meet in person to discuss these too, but I know that life is often to busy to make another weekly commitment. This way, you study with a friend without blocking off another weeknight.
The “Scripture Confident through the Old Testament” 3-book set will be 30% off during Black Friday weekend, November 25th - 29th, with coupon code: BF2016. So get a set for you and one for a friend and make 2017 a year of Scripture confidence.
With adult coloring books so popular right now, why not consider one that features the Word of God?! Disclaimer: Often verses in the books - just like many of the beautiful Bible verse creations you see on social media - are very one-sided. They speak of good, encouraging truth but leave out the sacrifice required of us or the hardships we can also expect. We see these verses out of context, and we can’t be sure we understand them well without it.
I have a suggestion for using Scripture coloring books. Find the verse in the Bible and read it in context. If it’s from the book of Psalms, read the full Psalm. If it’s from a letter or narrative, read the paragraph from one heading to the next. Reflect on the verse in context as you color the page. You may even try to memorize it. As you relax with this kid activity, allow it to turn into a time of reflection and worship. It may be exactly the rest your heart needs.
For the Rest of the World
As Christmas and the end of the year approach, consider giving to a ministry that brings the Bible to people around the world. Not everyone has the same access to the word of God. Here are some great ministries:
Wycliffe - This is a missions organization dedicated to translating the Bible into new languages. There are still plenty of people groups in the world who still don't have the Word of God in their native tongue. Consider supporting a missionary monthly or make a donation to the organization directly.
The Gideons International - Whenever you are in a hotel, check your night stand for a Bible. The Gideons distribute Bibles all over the world. You never know who that Bible may reach in just the right moment.
Love Packages - Send your used Bibles, Sunday School materials, and Christian books to this ministry and they will distribute them to believers in third world and developing countries who either don't have the resources to purchase materials or don't have access to them. Instead of collecting dust on your shelves, they become useful once again.
Gifts are not what Christmas is about, but gifts have become a part of how we celebrate the birth of Christ. Why not bless people with the Word of God?! Do you have any other Bible-focused Christmas gift ideas? Share them with us in the comment section.
May your Christmas season be filled with joyful anticipation, thankfulness for our Savior, and the truth of God's Word.